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Understanding Vacancy Announcements

 

When you find a vacancy announcement of interest, read it carefully. The announcement provides information about the position. For example, the job title, duties, location, salary range, qualification requirements, who is eligible to apply, how to apply and required documentation will be included on the vacancy announcement.  Many DFAS jobs require to appointment eligibility

If you have appointment eligibility, you can apply on any DFAS vacancy announcement provided your eligibility is included in the “Who may apply” section of the announcement.  You must submit proof of your appointment eligibility at the time you apply. 

If you do not have appointment eligibility, you can still apply for jobs advertised through the DFAS Delegated Examining Unit.  DEU vacancy announcements are easily recognized by the vacancy announcement prefix which will always begin with "D." DEU announcements are always open to all U.S. citizens.

Your time is valuable!  By reading the announcement carefully, you can ensure your job search efforts are concentrated only on positions for which you are included in the “Who may apply” section and meet the qualification requirements!

Alphabetical Index of DFAS Vacancy Announcement Fields

Agency
Agency Contact Information
Bargaining Unit Status
Department
DoD Program for Stability of Civilian Employment
Duties
Duty Locations
Equal Opportunity and Employment
Fair Labor Standards Act
Financial Statement
Job Announcement Number
Job Summary
Job Title
Key Requirements
Leaders in Motion (LIM) Program
Mobility Agreement
Open Period
Overseas Employment
Position Information
Probationary or Trial Period
Professional Credentials Policy
Promotion Potential
Qualifications Required
Reasonable Accomodations
Relocation Authorized
Salary Range
Security Clearance
Series and Grade
Supervisory Status
Time-in-Grade
Travel Required
Volunteer Experience
Who May Apply

                                   

Job Title

The job title listed on the vacancy announcement reflects the title on the position’s official position description.

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Department

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is an agency under the larger umbrella of the United States Department of Defense in the Executive Branch of the United States Government.

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Agency

DFAS takes take pride in serving the men and women who defend America.  To learn more about DFAS’s important mission please visit our website.

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Job Announcement Number

The job or vacancy announcement number is the most important piece of information when inquiring about a job for which you have applied.  It is recommended that you retain the job announcement number for your records.

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Salary Range

The salary listed is a range for the entry grade(s) of the position announced.  For positions announced at only one duty location salary will include the locality pay specific to the geographic area.  If there are multiple duty locations, the range includes the lowest locality pay to the highest locality pay for all possible locations.  The salary range includes the lowest salary for the entry level of the position and the highest salary for the full promotion potential grade.  The salary of most newly appointed employees will be set at the beginning of the salary range.

All pay tables, by location, are found at OPM Pay Tables.

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Open Period

The open period reflects a date range to include the date when the announcement is posted on USAJobs and applicants can begin submitting application packages and the date when the announcement closes.  Application packages must be submitted by 11:59 Eastern Standard Time on closing date.

In some instances, vacancy announcements will have an extended open period and may also include a first cut-off date.  Extended announcements are used to accept applications in anticipation of vacancies. Extended announcements provide DFAS a readily available source of applicants when vacancies occur. Extended announcement numbers are identified with a prefix which will always begin with "XX."  Some extended announcements may have a first cut-off date, applications received by the first cut-off date are guaranteed consideration for the very first jobs filled from the announcement.  For all other extended announcements, you are still encouraged to apply early to maximize your opportunity for consideration.  Eligibility and qualifications are not verified until there is a vacancy.  At that time, applicants receive a notification letter advising of qualification and referral.  If a vacancy does not occur, for the location and grade for which you apply, no further notification concerning the announcement will be provided.

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Series and Grade

Pay Plan - All federal jobs fall into one of several pay plans. The majority of the jobs in DFAS are on the General Schedule (GS) pay plan. This pay plan is used for clerical, technical, administrative and professional jobs. DFAS has a few jobs covered by the Federal Wage System. This pay plan is used for manual labor and recognized trades and craft occupations.

Series - All federal positions are classified by a numeric occupational series corresponding to the duties of the job. For example, all accountants are in the 0510 series and all information technology specialists are in the 2210 series.  Job series can be used to search in USAJobs for positions.

Grade - In the federal government grades correspond to pay levels. The entry grade is the grade level applicants are placed at when they begin the job. Pay at each grade consists of a basic salary and a locality adjustment for the area in which the job is located. 

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Position Information

This field provides information concerning the work schedule of the position being filled, the type of service and type of appointment.

  • Competitive - The majority of the DFAS’s positions are in the competitive service, which means that you must compete with other applicant in open competition.  You compete by submitting a complete application package which includes a detailed resume that supports all of your answers on your assessment questionnaire. 
  • Excepted - Excepted service appointments are made under authorities granted by the Office of Personnel Management to fill jobs when using the traditional competitive hiring procedures are not practical.  Some excepted appointments are eligible to be converted to competitive service after certain requirements are met.   The vacancy announcement “Other Information” section provides further information on the type of excepted position being filled.  Examples of employees under excepted appointments are Interns and Recent Graduates under the Pathways Program, People with Disabilities, and veterans under the Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment.
  • Work Schedule - The work schedule is usually full-time, but on occasion a part-time or intermittent position is announced.  Part-time positions include the number of hours expected to work during a two week pay period.  Intermittent work schedules have no pre-determined work schedule and are not guaranteed a minimum number of hours of work per two week pay period. 
  • Appointment Type - The type of appointment can vary.  Below are more common appointment types.  These apply to competitive and excepted service positions.
  • Permanent - Positions filled as permanent have a long-term continuous need. A career-conditional appointment is a permanent appointment leading to career tenure after completion of three years of continuous service.  Career employees have completed the tenure requirement and are converted to career tenure. Career-conditional employees have limited reinstatement rights and career employees have life time reinstatement rights.  Veterans serving on a career-conditional competitive service appointment are exceptions and have life time reinstatement rights after serving one day on a career-conditional appointment. 
  • Time-Limited Appointments - Some vacancy announcements are used to hire for a specified time period to meet temporary staffing needs. These announcements indicate the type of job as temporary or term.   
    • Temporary jobs are for positions not to exceed one year.  A temporary employee's appointment can be extended for up to two years of total service based upon need. Temporary employees do not serve a trial or probationary period and may be terminated at any time upon notice in writing.
    • Term jobs are for positions needed for more than one year but less than four years.  Many term employees are initially appointed for two years and may be extended for up to four years as needed.  Term employees serve a trial period.

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Promotion Potential

This is the full performance level of the job. It can be different from the entry grade on the announcement. The applicant selected can be advanced to the target grade of the job without further competition when all the requirements for advancement are met.

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Duty Location

This field identifies the number of positions expected to be filled from this vacancy announcement.  However, there are times when additional unexpected vacancies occur and as stated in the “Other Information” section of the announcement DFAS may use this announcement to fill these additional vacancies.

The duty location listed is the duty location of the position.  If more than one location is listed, the announcement will specify how many vacancies will be filled at each location or in some instances, the duty location may be at any of the listed locations and the final duty location will be determined at the time of selection.

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Who May Apply

The area of consideration is referred to as “Who May Apply” within the DFAS vacancy announcements. It describes the individuals from whom DFAS will accept applications. It may be restricted to a limited group of individuals (e.g. All DFAS permanent civilian employees), broad to accept individuals with appointment eligibilities or open to all U.S. citizens. If you are not within the area of consideration for the DFAS vacancy announcement that you are applying, your application will not be considered. It is also important you read the DFAS vacancy announcement and understand the documentation that is required.  Additional information about appointment eligibilities can be found here

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Security Clearance

In the interest of national security and because of the public trust inherent in a government position, all persons appointed to a position in an agency of the Federal government are subject to a background investigation. This investigation is required whether the duties of the position include access to classified material or not. Some positions may require secret or top secret clearance.

The scope of the investigation varies depending on the nature of the position and the degree of harm an individual in the position could cause. Current employees can be subject to periodic investigations (upon promotion or assignment to another position). Below are types of negative information that can affect suitability for the position and cause us to withdraw a job offer.

  • Issues related to use or possession of alcohol such as drinking and driving and the illegal manufacturing or sale of alcohol.
  • Issues related to illegal use/possession of controlled substances including marijuana such as possession for sale and regular use of a controlled substance other than marijuana.
  • Issues related to financial responsibility such as a judgment with no attempt at restitution or a pattern of financial irresponsibility as reflected in the person’s credit history.  It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual will generally not itself be the basis of an unfavorable suitability or fitness determination. 
  • A pattern of immoral conduct as reflected in conviction records.
  • Issues related to honesty such as grand theft or grand larceny or burglary.
  • Issues related to disruptive or violent behavior such as assault, battery or a pattern of violence as reflected in conviction records.
  • Issues relating to firearms/weapons violations such as carrying a concealed weapon.

Any negative information is evaluated and such factors as the recency of the information, seriousness and relevance to the position are considered in relationship to all other information provided by applicants.

The background investigation (or security clearance process if the position requires a secret or top secret clearance) is likely to delay the start date if offered a position. In rare circumstances the investigation can take more than six months although investigations are normally completed in four to six months.

If selected and a favorable determination cannot be made within a reasonable period of time due to disclosed or undisclosed issues in the background investigation (or secret or top secret clearance required cannot be obtained for the position) the employment offer can be withdrawn.

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Supervisory Status

Yes indicates that this position is a supervisor.  You may be required to serve a probation period if you have not already done so. The “Other Information” section of the vacancy announcement will provide additional information on probationary periods.

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Job Summary

In addition to information about DFAS, the organizational information for the position is identified.

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Travel Required

Some positions require travel. For jobs requiring travel, the announcement will state the degree of travel required as occasional or a percent of the available work hours.  The “Travel Description” field on the announcement will add specificity to the travel requirements if needed.

  • Occasional
  • 25% or Greater
  • 50% or Greater
  • 75% or Greater

If jobs with similar duties but with different travel requirements will be filled from the same announcement, the announcement will state that the travel requirement is variable.

Some DFAS positions may require travel to foreign areas and possibly in a combat zone.  The vacancy announcement will clearly state if this is a requirement of the position.

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Relocation Authorized

There are some instances when the majority of the costs associated with relocating to a new geographic area to accept a position will be paid by DFAS.  Even if the position indicates that relocation costs will be paid, no applicant or the selectee should incur any expenses associated with relocating until the point that they have a firm job offer and have been advised that they may do so.

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Key Requirements

These requirements will vary depending on the position being filled.  For most of the key requirements, additional information will be listed in the body of the vacancy announcement.  Below are some of the most common requirements.

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National – Federal agencies may only employ U.S. citizens and nationals (residents of American Samoa and Swains Island in the competitive service.  This may not be a requirement for some excepted service positions.
  • Background Investigation and Suitable for Federal Employment – All DFAS positions require a background investigation.  The security clearance requirements will vary by position.  See Security Clearance in the index above.  All selectees must receive a favorable suitability or fitness determination before appointment.
  • Registered for Selective Service – If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law.  For more information please visit the Selective Service System website.
  • Served 3 months after initial competitive appointment into Federal service - Time after competitive appointment only applies to current Federal employees who have been hired within the preceding three months from a competitive examining certificate through the DEU and are applying under the agency’s merit promotion procedures. These employees are not allowed to apply for promotion, reassignment, detail, or transfer to a different position or to a different geographical area until they have served three months in their latest non-temporary competitive appointment.
  • Obtain/Maintain Financial Management Certification – The Department of Defense has mandated a certification program for the financial management community.  This key requirement will be on positions covered by this program and by accepting such a position you are agreeing to obtain and maintain the specified level as a condition of employment.  You will find addition information concerning the certification level required in the “Other Information” section of the vacancy announcement and at the DFAS FM Certification Program webpage.

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Duties

The major duties of the position are listed in a bulleted format to provide a quick overview of the duties of the position at the full performance level.

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Qualifications

As an applicant, it is very important that you read the qualification requirements.  Be sure to click on provided links for important information before you apply.  

The OPM has published Qualification Standards for each occupation to ensure federal employees are, indeed, qualified to perform successfully the work of the position. Work and volunteer experience (see Volunteer Experience in the index) and sometimes education is evaluated against the minimum qualifications established by OPM.

All applicants must meet these minimum qualifications to be considered for employment. Applicants meeting minimum qualifications are evaluated further. The vacancy announcement includes information about the minimum qualifications for the job.  If the position is filled at multiple grade levels, the qualifications are stated for each grade level. 

Some positions, such as accountants, require applicants to meet a basic qualification requirement.  In addition to the basic requirement, additional specialized work experience requirements or education must be provided.  Other positions require a certain number of months or years and level of general or specialized work experience.  Specialized experience is experience equipping the applicant with the particular competencies to perform successfully the duties of the position and is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled.  Experience described in the vacancy announcement defines the type of specialized experience required to qualify.

Some positions may allow a substitution of education for required work experience or a combination of work experience and education may be used to meet the qualifications.  Education must have been obtained in an accredited college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  If relying on education to qualify for a job, submission of proof of education may be required. Please read our transcript policy carefully. It explains when you must submit a transcript and how to submit.

Some positions have a physical qualification requirement in addition to experience or education requirements.  There must be a direct relationship between the physical requirements and the performance of the critical duties of the position.  If a selectee fails to meet the physical requirements of the position, they are not qualified for the position unless there is sufficient evidence that he or she can perform the duties of the position safely and efficiently despite a condition that would normally be disqualifying. Reasonable accommodation must be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities in accordance with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations.  See “Reasonable Accomodations” in the index.

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Time-in-Grade

Time-in-grade applies to the promotion of current and former federal employees in the GS pay system.  Generally, employees applying for GS jobs must serve at least 52 weeks at the next lower grade level. This requirement is called time-in-grade.

Time-in-grade restrictions do not apply to former federal employees who have had a break in service of more than 52 weeks. It also does not apply to current or former federal employees applying for a new appointment on a DEU vacancy announcement.

Current permanent federal employees applying using the Veteran’s Employment and Opportunity Act (VEOA) appointing authority must meet time-in-grade requirements.

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Professional Credentials Policy

DFAS recognizes the value of competencies gained through formal education and professional certifications.  To ensure that consistent credit is given for these credential in the selection process, DFAS has developed standard selection criteria to be used when filling positions in the professional and administrative series.  Selections for professional and administrative positions will be based on four categories of selection criteria:  Education, Certifications, Experience and Other.

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Probationary or Trial Period

Most newly appointed Federal employees must serve some type of probationary or trial period depending on the type of appointment. 

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Financial Statement

Some jobs require completion of an Office of Government Ethics (OGE) confidential financial disclosure form 450.  The purpose of this form is to assist employees and our agency in avoiding conflicts between duties and private financial interests or affiliations.

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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the law that governs premium pay and overtime for most clerical, technical and administrative support positions. Jobs not covered (exempt) by the Act are typically Executive, Administrative and Professional positions.

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Bargaining Status

This tells you whether the job is in a bargaining unit represented by a Union.

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DoD Program for Stability of Civilian Employment

The DoD has a program which provides DoD displaced employees with priority consideration for certain positions.  There may be times when a position cannot be filled from those who applied through the vacancy announcement in order to place a priority candidate into the position. 

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Agency Contact Information

The telephone number and email address provided on the vacancy announcement is for the DFAS Customer Care Center.  A TDD number is also included on the announcement for our hearing impaired applicants.  You may call or email to get more information about the announcement.  If you have applied through your USAJOBS account, you can monitor the progress of your application package by logging in to your account.

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DFAS Leaders in Motion (LIM) Program

The selectee for this entry-level developmental position will participate in a formal developmental training program, with promotion opportunities, under the DFAS Leaders in Motion (LIM) Program. The purpose of this program is to develop well-qualified, well-trained, high potential employees for future positions and opportunities within DFAS. Program participants are required to develop an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with specific career competencies and goals; attend mandatory program meetings; complete required courses; complete a process improvement project; participate in mentoring activities; and partake in a developmental rotation opportunity. Career promotion is conditional based on performance, successful completion of training requirements, and availability of higher graded work. Participants who do not successfully complete the training program may be separated.

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Equal Opportunity and Employment

DFAS does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service or other non-merit factor.

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Reasonable Accomodations

DFAS provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact us using the “Agency Contact” information on the vacancy announcement.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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Volunteer Experience

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual, community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. 

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Mobility Agreement

Some positions require the selectee to sign a mobility agreement as a condition of employment. 

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Overseas Employment

Same sex domestic partner or spouse - For positions in a foreign country, that country's laws or international agreements may have a direct impact on the ability of an employee's same sex domestic partner or spouse to accompany the employee and receive certain benefits. If you believe you may be affected by these laws and agreements, you should familiarize yourself with relevant information before applying for or accepting this position.  Please contact the POC in the vacancy announcement for country specific laws or agreements.

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